Friday, September 01, 2006

How to make big money blogging

Apparently you really can make a lot of money using your own blog or other Web site. I saw a recent article on the Washington Post's Web site that profiled several people in the D.C. area who did just that, and what the secrets were to their success. One man was able to make $40,000 a year from his blogging efforts.

How did he do it? He started a search engine devoted to finding podcasts, and as his site became more popular the hits piled up, and enough people clicked on his AdSense ads to earn a cool $40K. Of course, we're talking about a lot of hits here–this guy's site gets close to a million hits a month these days, according to the Washington Post article.

Other people profiled in the article earn cash through Web sites on topics ranging from hobbies to free layouts for MySpace (great, somebody is actually making lots of cash designing those ugly layouts that hurt my eyes so much every time I visit MySpace!) Of course, to make real money you'd need many thousands of visits to a site, and to do that your best bet is a Web site devoted to a topic that a large number of people will be drawn to.

UPDATED-- Here are some specific things you can do to get more eyeballs (and clicks) on your Web site:
* Write about what you know and love. Some of the big money-making bloggers mentioned in the Washington Post article were writing about their hobbies and interests--podcasts, crocheting, travel, and the like. One of the biggest money-makers, the article notes, describes how to find the most comfortable and well-appointed airline seats. The Web lets millions of people around the world share your passion for a subject; if you write about a topic and let as many people as possible know about it, you'll get lots of traffic to your site.
* Drive lots of people to your site. Let people know about your site as much as possible: put the URL in your e-mail signature, in postings you make to bulletin boards and online groups, get other people to link to your Web site on theirs, etc. (this last point can also help move your site higher in Google search results)
* Experiment with the ads on your site. Read Google's AdSense tips; they're full of details on ad placement, color, use of search boxes, and more (you don't have control of these on Xomba, but you do on your own Web site). Also read the Xomba Admin tips on how to drive people to your Xombytes.
* Keep it fresh. Update the content of your site often with new material to keep visitors coming back. Some sites I go to nearly every day because I know I'll find new and interesting content; this gives the site more visits and more potential ad clicks. Other sites I visit less often because the same material is there week after week.
* Try different subjects. Most of us have several interests, so feel free to set up more than one blog. I stumbled upon one very funny humor blog. It turns out the writer is a real-estate agent by day and also has an interesting blog on home buying. Her two separate blogs attract different readerships and different ads.

Try these tips and look for others (after all, anything you want to know about anything is only a Google search away!)

The good news is that it really is possible to make real money by writing on the Web.

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