How to make money with a personal blog?

I would like to earn money from my blogging, and have monetized my blogs, but how to get readers who will really click on ads, and how to get people to buy from my shops?

Sher from Czech off the beaten path posted the above question. And it is a very, very frequent one! How to make money with a personal blog? Can a personal, diary style weblog make money or is it a lost cause form the beginning? If you do a search for ‘make money with your blog’ on google than you’ll notice that one word keeps coming up over and over again. It is the (in)famous word ‘niche’. Now personal blogs like Sher’s are not exactly niche, so what can be done? Quite a lot, first:

1. Understanding how Google Adsense works

Asking ‘how do I get people to click my ads’ is actually asking things the wrong way round. It should be ‘what can I do that google displays ads that are relevant to my readers’. Lets recall how adsense works (in the ideal case). Somebody does a search for ‘something’ on google, a post of your blog shows up as a match for the search for ‘something’, the searcher comes to your, relevant, page and after reading it for a while, clicks an ad, leaves your site/ blog to go and purchase the advertised product. That is the kind of traffic Google is after for their ads. For a mixed bag blog like yours, Sher, it would help enormously if you would display only one post per page. The Google ads would be far more targeted and more likely to be clicked by the right kind of person. I would also try and play around with different ad formats and locations. The blogger platform makes it very easy to ad ads in different spots of the blog. To further increase your Adsense success I would suggest to

2. Using the niche concept on a personal blog

A niche is basically a tightly focused blog or web site. Classical niches include ‘making money online’ or ‘lawyers/ insurance by geographical area’. Now, I don’t suggest that you change the way you write your blog completely, but perhaps a bit the way how you organize it. Jot down your main topics like Prague, traditions, travel etc. Think in terms of categories and keywords/ tags. Simply try to optimise each post to the best of your ability for the search engines. Try to organize your blog content as neatly as the blogger platform allows. Some important places to check out are

Google Keyword Tool to check what Google thinks your blog is about and to brainstorm keywords and

Google Webmaster Tools to check the Google health of your blog.

3. Spring cleaning your blog

Actually this one should have been point number 1! As I checked your blog it was like, eh, oops which ads/ shops is she talking about??? Your sidebar is a bit unorganised and pretty cluttered with all sort of things. Think of your sidebar(s) as real estate, everything above the fold is prime location, the next Β½-1 screen scrolled down is middle ground and everything below that is dumping ground. Go through each of your widgets/ gadgets/ text boxes etc and ask yourself:

3.1. Is this adding something positive/ value for my blog visitors?

3.2. Is this adding something positive/ value for my blog as such (traffic/ income etc)?

3.3. Is there any reason why I have it?

3.4. How important is this really?

3.5 What would happen if I delete it?

And than go and change the order of things, the least important get deleted, the most important ones moved to the top, the rest arranged by importance in the middle in between πŸ˜‰ For example, your twitter widget box. Why do you have it? I try to answer the questions for you:

3.1. Nops. Your visitor comes to read your blog posts and as your updates are protected will not necessarily try to follow you.

3.2. Nops, as you have your updates set to private (at least in the twitter time line) and really don’t ad many people to your followers, so it doesn’t help much in terms of traffic. The only thing which is a bit positive, is that it updates your blog with a tiny bit of new content regularly.

3.3. That one you have to answer.

3.4. Not very.

3.5 Nothing

Solution: If you want to keep it, at least send it to the bottom of your sidebar.

OK, your turn πŸ˜‰ Spring clean time for your sidebar! In the long run you might want to think about changing your template to a fluid, two column one that allows for more flexibility in arranging content and makes a better use of space. There are tons and tons of free blogspot templates out there πŸ˜‰

Your online shops:

I guess you know it for yourself, both of them need some updating/ lay-out improving/ more content.

The Amazon one is pretty good, you might want to play around a bit more with the color and lay-out. I also would include less, but more targeted, products here. Do the majority of your visitors come from the US? If not, you might want to ad more, country specific, shops to your list. In all the cases I would move this one more to the top and advertise it with a nice banner, so that the link stands out more.

The Zazzle one has only one single photo on 9 different products, here you have great potential for improving! And as soon as that one is updated and ready for visitors, move it also to the very top of your sidebar! Zazzle provides all sorts of widgets to make the display on your sidebar more visually appealing than a simple text link.

RΓ©sumΓ© or Check List for a better converting blog traffic:

1. You have great, frequently updated content on your blog. That is a huge plus you can be proud of!

2. Set display option to one post per page.

3. Use Google Tools to learn more about how Google sees your blog and to get ideas.

4. Start to think about the possibility to get a new template.

5. Organize content better.

6. Clean up sidebar and re-organize.

7. Update your shops.

I hope my answer was not to harsh and helped you at least a bit to improve the earning from your blog! It is certainly possible to earn money from a personal google blogspot blog. You are already of to a very good start! Next one please πŸ˜‰ SY

If you like this blog post and found it helpful, why not share it with your preferred social network? Handy links and bookmarklets above ^^^ πŸ˜‰

30 comments to How to make money with a personal blog?

  • benn

    Thank for info

  • How to make money with a personal blog? | Hospitalera's Blog

    Sorry… forgot to say great post – can’t wait to read your next one!

  • Hi SY,
    Thanks for your advice about what could make my blog better and more productive!! You were not too harsh…this is what I expected and wanted. I’m happy that you have offered such very insightful advice on how to improve things!!!

    I’m going to print out this article and work on those things as I can. Right now I’m busy with some other freelance work…so my things will have to take a backseat for a bit. But I will definitely be looking at fixing these things you’ve mentioned!!!

    I have been wanting to ask your advice for a while, so your request for comments just opened the door for my questions! You know what you’re doing and I respect your work!!! :0)

    Thanks again…and you have a great afternoon!
    Sher :0)

  • hospitalera

    @Benn You are welcome

    @How to make money with a personal blog? | Hospitalera’s Blog
    Thanks! Funny that you choose my post title as your nick name πŸ˜‰

  • hospitalera

    @Sher
    Happy that I could help! If you don’t have any time at all at the moment set at least your blog to display only 1 post per page. That is than a start πŸ˜‰

  • Hi SY nice blog! Niche blogs/sites are the way to go IMHO – far too much work involved in updating blogs regularly! Lissie

  • Saurooon

    Super post, Need to mark it on Digg

  • Hi again!
    Just a quick note to let you know I added a blurb on my blog about your assessment! :0) You can find it here: http://sheroffthebeatenpath.blogspot.com/2009/04/housekeeping.html

    I did make that one change–one post per page–it’s a start!!! More to come!!!

    Thanks again!!!

    Have a great day,
    Sher :0)

  • hospitalera

    @Lissie
    Thanks for your kind words, yes, I agree, if you just want to make money AND start from scratch than niche sites are one of the best methods. But if you have a well established, well written non-niche blog, you still can make money of it without frightening your regular readers of with ads over load. SY

  • Hi Hospitalera,
    I am in the midst of making updates and changes to my blog…phew! It’s been a process…but things are coming along!

    One of my readers has a questions–she commented that my cleaned up labels were certainly neater, but how would someone find my posts on something like “pomlazka” now that the labels are in fact categories?

    Have a great day,
    Sher :0)

  • Hi Hospitalera,
    I’m enjoying your posts about your trip to Switzerland!! Sounds like you had a great time!

    I have one more question…you have talked about a disclosure policy…could you tell me some more about that and how to go about getting and posting one?

    Thanks!!!

    Have a great day,
    Sher :0)

  • hospitalera

    @Sher1
    I would ad a search box, perhaps the google adsense one? You might also look into if google blogspot offers somewhere a tag/ label cloud?

    @Sher2
    I did, even got a tiny bit of sunburn πŸ˜‰ Have a look at my disclosure policy A rather boring disclaimer There is a link to one site that helps you to generate one. The google cookie part I took from here I just mixed than all together. I am not a lawyer, but if you want you can copy my policy, adapt it and use it πŸ˜‰ Another policy generator can be found here, hope that helps, SY

  • Hi Hospitalera,
    Thanks for answering my questions! I did put one search box on, by Lijit…you can even earn a little money from that! I will also put on the Adsense search box…it can’t hurt, can it? πŸ™‚

    And thanks for allowing me to use your disclaimer as a model and point me to a couple of disclaimer generators! I have put one on Czech Off the Beaten Path…using a combination of yours and the generators…hopefully that will do the job and Google will be happy!

    I’m still in updating mode, so the sidebars will probably be changing…and the posts are being updated so that they will all match the newer ones! What a process!

    Thanks for your input and advice!!!

    Have a great day,
    Sher :0)

  • I’m really new into this kind of thing and your topic really helps me to understand how to earn in making a blog. Thanks!

  • Making money with a blog or your own website is possible, but for some reason many people think that it will be like turning on a tap and the money starts flowing out. It doesn’t help having all the gurus pushing products that make promises like these.

  • hospitalera

    @Gianna
    Yep, people still look for “get quick rich” and don’t want to —- work for their success! SY

  • I experienced this too, thought making money online is an instant thing. Money from the internet is a reward from hard work.

  • hospitalera

    @Carla
    SOoo true, people are always after the quick and easy money, seems nobody wants to work anymore. SY
    PS Nice niche πŸ˜‰

  • Great post! I just started out blogging not too long ago and I’m glad I found your stuff. The google adsense section is great for all those barely getting started with it because you let them know what type of mind set they have to have.

    Just bookmarked your site so hopefully others in need can find this useful. Keep up the good work! πŸ˜‰

  • Found a great article on Twitter Marketing…Can it get me more traffic?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQ8mSN82Ixk

  • hospitalera

    @losauptustirl
    To be quite honest, your comment was already half in the trash bin before I decided to be extra friendly today. First of all, I really, really suggest to work on your presentation / video skills. That does not mean that you need a better camera, it means that you have to learn to use it better and to present yourself better. Two hints, first you move your head too much and in a meaningless way, second the background is distracting and doesn’t add nothing to the content. Is the site / service you try to promote your own one? If yes, I would invest in some proof reading / spell checking. I doubt a lot of people will click through to the sales page. Just my 2 cents, SY

  • Ok, WordPress blog which is hosted on their site doesn’t allow monetizing and only Blogger does it. So it’s upto you guys whether you choose a self-hosted wordpress blog or go with Blogger, do whatever but be careful you don’t yourself click on any Ads displayed by Google Adsense and don’t get fake clicks. My friend accidentally clicked on the ad on his own site and his a/c is now banned. It was done accidentally just once, but Google are strict on it because of the amount of clicks people do.

  • hospitalera

    @Mel
    If that happens you always can self-report the click to Google, that prevents that your account gets close. And, btw, only one wrong click shouldn’t get your account closed, there might be other reasons also like a missing privacy policy or similar. SY

  • LireQuielve

    Very Recently, there has been a great deal of inquiries by the
    American FTC against bloggers and website developers
    for not revealing their advertising revenue, or existing
    relationships with advertising networks.

    What are your ideas concerning how this could potentially hurt
    the blog community?

  • hospitalera

    @LireQuielve
    Every blog and / or web site should have a policy that spells relationships / data collected out, here is mine: http://hospitalera.com/a-rather-boring-disclaimer/ Was it that what you mean? SY

  • john

    Thanks for the tips. It is actually quite possible to generate a decent income stream from your blog.

  • hospitalera

    @John
    I agree, but you have to work for it πŸ˜‰ SY

  • vivienne

    how do i make money from a blog i am new on internet and have to generate money i am looking after my disable daughter she was in bad car accident 8yrs ago

    • hospitalera

      I am happy to help you, just have a look around this blog and come back to me with any questions you might have. My contact information is also here on the site, SY

  • Copy Typing Rates

    I have found google adsense to be more trouble than it’s worth. I used to have a blog that generated a small amount of money but I’ve given up because it’s just too much hassle. My broadband was quite slow and would result in my thinking I was clicking on one thing but was actually clicking on my own ads, sometimes I didn’t even realise it but sure enough, I’d be banned pretty quickly. I also couldn’t be bothered with all the spam comments. But if you can cope with all the effort and what feels like wasted time then go for blogging!