How to Make Money Blogging

How to make money blogging is something a lot of people want to do, but few will ever achieve it. My last post How to Make Easy Money with SEO, went some way to explaining how it can be done, so I’m not going back over all that again. In this post I actually want to take a look at WordPress mu, or Multi-User host sites.

What are WordPress mu Blog Hosts?

WordPress mu blog hosts are similar to standard WordPress blog software with the added ability to “host” multiple blogs from a single domain, in the same way that free blog hosts such as wordpress.com do. It can be done one of two ways. With the add-on blogs acting like subdomains of the main domain like this:

blog.mydomain.com

or they can act like pages of the main domain like this:

mydomain.com/blog

The more popular method is the first example, which is the way it’s done by the big blog hosts such as wordpress.com, blogetery.com, blogdrive.com…etc. There are hundreds of free blog hosts using this software that are springing up all over the place, with more being added to the mix every day. This is good for bloggers who want to set up an easy to use free blog using the popular WordPress system and of course with access to their great themes.

So how does this tie in with how to make money blogging?

Well, anyone can set up a WordPress mu blog host. If you have a robust enough hosting package (a standard reseller is probably the minimum) you can set one up on a suitable domain and offer bloggers the ability to set up their blogs on your host. Of course you don’t go and do this for nothing, unless you’re feeling particularly benevolent and like working for nothing. You can turn it to your advantage and make money with it. How?

You can set up your own WPMU host with a revenue sharing system so that when bloggers create blogs and put up their own adsense, you take a small percentage of their earnings. Same with eBay affiliates, Kontera or anything else you care to include. If you get enough knowledgeable bloggers to set their blogs up on your host and they start making money for themselves, you get a percentage, which is only fair seeing as you are providing the platform fromwhich they are making their money. You are paying for hosting and some of your time is given over to maintaining the system.

Everybody benefits!

Free blog hosts such as blogetery.com, blogdrive.com, blinkweb.com etc all allow you to place ads, or they plave their own ads and you provide your adsense id. You make money and they take a percentage. It’s a system that works very well and it would be a perfect world except for one nasty great big fly in the ointment.

Spammers.

These bastards get into every great idea and bugger it up for the rest of us. They’re not content to set up a few blogs here and there and make them legitimate with original, relevant content. No, they have to spam a crapload of blogs that are all crap with little or no useful content that has been scraped from other sites just for the quick killing. They don’t care what the search engines do because they get in, work fast and get out before anyone knows what has happened. Along the way, they create a bucketload of crap sites that Google takes one look at and, realising they are spam sites, gets tough and de-indexes them. And so they should.

Except that’s not the end of it.

Google have lately been going around and de-indexing many of the host domains that may harbour these spam blogs. Notice I said may harbour them.

This is certainly not good for all the legitimate blog owners who have worked hard on their real blogs on these hosts as it means their hard work is gone up in smoke along with the host domain, because when Google de-index a domain, all sub-domains are similarly de-indexed.

Just like the pompous, arrogant and sadistic schoolmasters of a bygone age that would thrash the living daylights out of a whole class of boys to “punish” one boy who did something wrong.

Google are punishing all the innocent bloggers just to get at the spammers who may or may not have created blogs on these WordPress mu hosts.

This is wrong and unjust and unfair.

Honest bloggers should not see their hard work penalized just because of a few bad apples in a barrel, such as spammers. I agree that Google should do all they can to stamp out spammers, because they are the bane of all honest bloggers and website owners who are trying to make a living from attracting honest, organic traffic from the SERPs. But it should be done intelligently and Google surely must house more intelligent heads under its umbrella than most places. So how about using that intelligence to beat these stupid spammers, rather than blanket tactics like de-indexing a whole domain?

In fact, if you take that logic and apply it to the real world, which is the domain that hosts more spam blogs than all the others put together?

Blogspot.com

I don’t see that being de-indexed anytime soon. If Google’s logic were to be followed to the letter, then to stamp out more spam blogs than any other tactic possibly could, they should de-index blogspot.com

Ok, now that we have that out in the open, how about applying some common sense intelligent reasoning here. We all know that Google’s index needs to be as relevant as possible to make people’s surfing experience the best that can be achieved. That means making sure that no crap spam blogs are allowed in there. We also know that is a huge task to undertake, as these bastards are everywhere and they are a real pain in the arse.

But Google employ a small army of people who regularly inspect websites and blogs for spam or for violations of their quality guidelines. The serps are forever being tweaked and are more fluid now than at any time in the past, with new site coming in every day. Spam sites get found out soon enough and are dealt with. But there is the ability for any person to report a site they believe is in violation of Google’s quality guidelines and these sites can be checked visually in order to either uphold the information given by the reporter, or to ascertain if the site in question is actually legitimate and the reporter was causing malicious damage to a competitor.

It seems that either way, the site gets de-indexed first, which means the person reporting a site steals a march over their competitor for a few weeks until the site owner can go through the annoying process of begging for a re-inclusion. Is the same thing happening to so many WPMU hosts as well?

No one really knows the real reason why so many WPMU host domains are being apparently randomly de-indexed with all their blogs being taken out with them. We can only conjecture and maybe make educated guesses based upon Google’s characteristic way of working. But whatever is the real reason, it is unfair to the honest bloggers that have built their legitimate blogs on these hosts to be penalized along with any spammers.

We don’t see blogspot.com, or blogetery.com or tumblr.com or any of the other bigger free blog hosts being de-indexed. There are planty of small WPMU hosts that are provided for university students that outsiders cannot join and they don’t get de-indexed. Likewise, there are plenty of small message boards and forums that also provide free blog hosts to their members, which outsiders are not allowed to join, but I have heard that these are some of the domains that are being targeted.

I have my own WPMU host that I run for a certain forum and so far it has been allowed to continue unmolested. All the blogs on it are legit and there is no way spammers can create blogs on it, because only forum members, who have first been vetted to ensure they are in fact real people can join. I hope, for this reason alone it is allowed to remain indexed and its blogs to flourish in the serps, because they are relevant, legit and comply with Google’s quality guidelines.

I also hope that Google sees sense and stops de-indexing these domains willy nilly and instead targets the individual spam blogs themselves. That way is better for everyone. It’s certainly fairer.

Then we honest online marketers can get on with growing our legitimate online businesses unhindered because this is how we make money blogging.

Terry Didcott
The Honest Way

How to Make Easy Money with SEO

Well, my last post here How to Make Money Online With Action, went into how to get off your backside and do the work in order to figure out how to make money online. This one takes it one stage further and explains exactly how to make easy money with SEO!

If you want to know how to make easy money with SEO, or Search Engine Optimization as its full name is, here’s are some very useful pointers that will help you if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty by doing some hard work. If the very thought of that is too much for you to bear, then you probably won’t get anything out of this and you might as well save yourself some time and not bother reading any more. This post is primarily for website owners whop want to know how to make money online from blogs, website etc but are struggling to attract the right kind of traffic.

I’m also going to add a disclaimer here: If you’re target niche is Make Money Online (MMO) then the methods I’m going to talk about will work, but you will have to amplify your workload a hundredfold to compete with the people who are holding onto the front page in the only search engine that really matters, Google. It may seem a little contrived to be writing about how to make money online with SEO on a site that doesn’t, but what this site does is immaterial to the information as it works best in other niches. This site unfortunately occupies the very same MMO niche and is nowhere for most of the keywords that matter. That’s because I learned early on that if I were to put the amount of work necessary into floating this site up to the top of MMO into a less competitive niche, I will not only dominate it much more quickly, I can rinse and repeat with several other niches and still have time to go out and spend the money I’m making from them.

Meaning that I don’t make money from the Make Money Online niche, but I certainly do from other niches that I have learned how to dominate using the SEO methods I’m going to talk about here. Why is that? Because other niches are much easier to dominate due to the sites that populate Google’s front page are generally not owned and run by Internet Marketers who are SEO savvy. Most of them are battling it out in MMO, which is good for me and the people who have figured it out, because while they’re all fighting and spending all their time in that niche, they’re not working other, more profitable niches, like the ones I’m working!

What niches am I working?

Are you kidding? If I revealed them, every person who read this post would suddenly become my competitors and I don’t want to have to fight to keep my top spots which make me money!

So you’ll just have to go find your own niches to work. Don’t worry, there are literally thousands of profitable niches out there that are easy to work and easy to dominate once you have done the groundwork. Which is where I’ll start in my explanation on how to make easy money with SEO.

First thing you’ll need is a website that you can use to put up Adsense, or a comparable PPC advertising medium. Failing that, you’ll need some affiliate products that you know will sell with enough traffic. But I’m going to concentrate on Adsense, because it is one of the easiest ways to make money I know of, once you know how to use it. Incidentally, this information is probably sitting in a dozen or so eBooks which you’d probably pay a pretty penny for, except here its for nothing, nada, zilch, zip, en gratis! I’m happy to give it away for the trade off with traffic.

Another thing you may notice is that I don’t use Adsense on this blog. That’s because it doesn’t get the organic search traffic needed to make it work. Most of the traffic to this site is social, which while is very nice to have people read my blog, its no good for converting into money simply because as I’ve said before, social traffic does not click ads and therefore don’t make money for me! No problem and I’m not going to sweat it. You’ll see why in a minute.

Your main site that you have set up for Adsense should be a site that is at least 3-6 months old already and been indexed for most of that. Better if its over a year old and already features in Google’s index maybe even in the high pages of the SERPs, but if not, you’ll just have a little longer to wait. You’ll need to SEO your site for your main keywords for several reasons. The main one is that’s the keywords you want to rank in the SERPs for and they should be keywords that have reasonably high monthly search figures for, preferably more than about 3000, but more is obviously better. Don’t try for really high search numbers as you’ll probably find they’re very competitive and you’ll struggle to break into them. Anything up to around 30k a month is good.

Remember a thing about your position in the SERPs is that if you are in number one spot, you will take the lion’s share of the traffic. In fact you’ll attract anything from 60% up to 90% of the monthly search figures in that place, although it varies from niche to niche. The lower down on the front page you are, the fewer visitors you will attract, so you need to aim for top spot. When you are researching the keywords, this is a factor you need to be aware of. If the current top site is a PR6 with hundreds of relevant keyword anchored backlinks (more of that in a minute), then you will struggle to usurp it. Obviously the weaker the competition, the easier it will be to overcome it.

So how to beat your competition using SEO and a little guile.

If you haven’t already got them you’ll need to build some more sites. Free ones are best and easiest, meaning they’re going to be blogs. They should be built on a mixture of platforms, such as Blogger, WordPress, Blinkweb, Geocities etc. The more the merrier. The subjects of the blogs will be relevant to your main site in more general terms, so try to get your main keywords in the URL even if it means creating blogs with long URLs.

The next part is the hard work part. You’ll need to get these blogs populated with several relevant posts each and indexed in Google. You can do this a number of ways, but the safest way is to write them yourself and make them original. Do not use PLR articles and do not scrape content from other sites. This will cause Google to either not index the blogs at all, or to not give them any authority, which is almost as bad. What you want is for these blogs to be legitimate and relevant so that they will also feature in the SERPs in their own right. They don’t need to sit high, just to be in the SERPs for your given keyword or long tail keywords is enough. Why?

Because these blogs are going to link to your main site and give it a lot of authority for its main and long tail keywords. This is what will make it rise to the top of the SERPs – not page rank, which is another thing that confuses people.

A PR0 site with lots of authority from relevant links will beat a PR5 with fewer links.

To do that, you need to use SEO. And this kind of search engine optimization is easy enough to do. Here’s how.

For each new post in each blog, you need to write about a subject that is highly relevant to one of your main keywords. The title of the post must contain the keyword. Then include a link to your main site from within the post using the keyword in the anchor text. Then go on to the next blog and do the same thing, only use a slightly different one for your main keywords.

You need to target several closely related keywords. Not only will it increase the SERPs authority for your main site for its main keyword, it also gives additional SERPs authority for the closely related keywords, meaning your site will feature in several different search pages, which all attract traffic. So you could end up sitting on top of the SERPs for several related keywords that all attract varying levels of traffic. The more traffic you attract from the search engines, in particular Google, the more money you will make from the Adsense ads that they will be more disposed to to click on.

Lastly, the layout of the main site itself needs to be optimized for Adsense. That means that while you’ll need plenty of relevant content for your keywords, you don’t really want anyone to read it. That may sound pretty crappy especially if you like the idea of attracting lots of readers top your site or blog, but if you want to make money from Adsense, you’re going to have to make your site less attractive to people so they’ll be more likely to want to click out and go someplace else. I know that hurts to hear, but its the truth. If your site is too good and the content too helpful and interesting to people, the less chance they’re going to want to go anywhere else and the less chance they’ll click your ads.

You also want to make sure the right ads trigger for your keywords. Here is where relevance comes into play. Your main keywords must feature in the title of your posts or the H1 headers on your page. The keywords also need to be in the post for good measure, but they don’t need to be there in any great quantity as long as your main headers tell Google what your page and your site is all about. If you are getting different sets of ads, then that is telling you your page is not optimized properly and the Google bots is seeing several different main keywords. Here it is best to only publish one article on your main page and make it as relevant as you can. That way the bots won’t be fooled with multiple titles and you’ll get the ads you want.

As for ad placement, this can vary from niche to niche, but a 250×250 ad block just above the title of your post is more often the best spot. Go for a plain white background and blue links, because this is what people are used to seeing. Your sit should match this – plain white background and dark grey or black text is best.

This will improve your CPC, but that is probably a topic all in itself and one for a future post as this one is already getting far too long!

On that note, I’m going to sign off, wishing all my readers a happy and prosperous 2009!

Terry Didcott
The Honest Way