How often have you thought, “I could use some extra cash”? Whether in a short-term financial bind or wanting to save up for something big, there are many ways to make money over and above working your day job. I was able to pay off $52,000 of debt in 18 months using some of the ideas in this article, including this Website, which now makes over $6,000 per month.
Here are 80+ ways you can make some more money to fund whatever you want to accomplish. Passion is the essence of successful online content creation. With the advent of Blogger and other easy-to-use blogging platforms, even the unsavvy computer user can put content on the web for others to read and respond to. It’s even more gratifying to make money from communicating your passion to others, and it is so easy to do.
I believe that most readers of this article are at least adept enough to start a blog with Blogger and perhaps even place a Google Contextual Ad in the code. However, there are many other steps to take that can maximize your “blogging” ability to not only reach your audience but to make money from blog visitors. Using a real example, I will give you a formula that you can easily follow, with baby steps that will allow you to start making money with your web content.
“You know what I like? Baseball!”
Robert De Niro, as Al Capone in “The Untouchables,” I am a fantasy sports junkie. To me, 14-6-8 isn’t just SERPS; they could also be Boris Diaw’s basketball stat line. Now that fantasy basketball season has ended (and I did win my league), I can focus full-time on fantasy baseball.
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During this article, I will create and monetize a blog about one of my fantasy baseball teams ([http://www.fantasybaseballmonster.com]). I will use Blogger as my platform, though I will host the blog myself (and I strongly recommend that you do this as well). I will take you step by step through the creation and monetization process and give you my first post. I encourage you to copy my entire process when you create your blog. I think you will be happy with the results.
First, I set up my account and entered the pertinent FTP information. I will work with this exercise’s “Sand Dollar” Blogger template. It isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing of the choices, but it will allow me to place my skyscraper ads down the left side of the page without changing the CSS in the code. Studies have shown that people viewing your Website are more likely to notice the content on the left margin of the page (see the Google Eye Tracking Study for more details). So, to maximize the monetization of my blog, my ads will be placed on the left.
Once I enter the Blogger interface, I click the “Settings” tab to begin my customization. Many default settings should be unchanged. I will only focus on those that should be altered.
(Basic Tab) Title: Your core keyword(s) should be in your title. “Fantasy Baseball” is mine…hence, “Tru Fantasy Warrior’s (the name of my team adapted from the Ron Artest rap record label) Fantasy Baseball Blog” is a workable title for SEO purposes.
Description: It needs to contain your secondary keywords. In my case, they would be my fantasy baseball team members. I list each name here.
File Name, URL: The name of your file needs to be “index. shtml” instead of “index.html.” If Blogger is hosting your blog, you can’t do this.
Notify Weblogs.com: Click “Yes”
(Formatting Tab) Show: I tend to favor showing a lot of content on the home page. I would raise the number. That’s the default. How much would depend on the amount of content that will be created?
Post Template: I would tag all my posts with the Technorati tag for “fantasy baseball.” I visit Technorati, click on the “tag” tab, and determine that I need to add the following code into the “Post Template”:
<a target=”_new” rel=”no follow” href=”http://technorati.com/tag/fantasy+baseball”>fantasy baseball</a>
(Archive Tab): Archive Frequency: Choose “Daily” Getting Content
I will sign up for Google News Alerts for each player on my team. I will receive an e-mail containing news stories about that player each day. Their actions on the field will drive the postings that I make.
Placing an RSS Feed on the Blog
Placing an RSS feed on the blog will give my readers relevant content about the targeted subject matter and add any search engine optimization efforts. I will create a simple RSS feed for my blog to focus on some players on my fantasy baseball squad. Note that this won’t work if Blogger is hosting your blog.
I go to Google News and click on Advanced Search. I create my search, and I see these results. There are two primary feed types: RSS and Atom. Google News allows you to create either type of feed. I click on the Atom link. I take the URL of the Atom Feed to Feedburner, a service that enables me to format my dinner in a manner that allows me to include it on my blog. I place the spread in the “Burn this feed right this instant” box and follow the steps until my feed is live and I get a new “Feed URL.”
Moving right along, I now need to download some software that will allow me to display the feed on my blog. RSS2HTML is what I use. Note that this software will only work if my web host supports PHP. Although I’m sure easy-to-implement ASP solutions exist, I haven’t used them. I unzip the downloaded zip file and see the two necessary files I need to upload to my webserver: rss2html.php and sample-template.html. I open the latter file (if you don’t have an HTML editor, use “Notepad” on your PC). At the top of the page, I delete everything between the title, h1, and h2 tags.
I then change the “Table Width” from 100% to 30%. These are purely stylistic changes that I am making. I then save the file and upload both files to the root of my webserver. I go back into Blogger, and I open my Template. I scroll down until I see
“div id= “sidebar.” Remember how I generated a Feedburner URL (step #4 above)? I need it now. I placed the following code below:” div id=” sidebar.”When you do this yourself, substitute your Feedburner URL for mine. I saved the Template and republished it on the web. I should see my feed on the sidebar of my blog.
The First Post
Each day, I will get a series of Google News Alerts e-mailed to me about the members of my fantasy team. My ideas and thoughts about my team will guide my daily postings. The sample post I included was driven by reading a news alert about Ichiro’s first good game of the year and how I traded Miguel Tejada for Ichiro, which was foolish. Since Ichiro is the focus of my post, I use his name in my post title. I then proceed with my mini-rant (including the players’ names involved).
In addition to my Technorati tag for “fantasy baseball,” I also add tags for “Ichiro Suzuki” and “Miguel Tejada,” which serve the purpose of getting my site into Technorati for people searching for those players. Technorati tags also increase the keyword density of those terms in the blog, aiding the SEO effort. If you are new to the blogosphere, you’ll ultimately develop your posting style… always be sure to use your targeted keywords in each post.
Google Ads / Affiliate Programs
One needs to develop a certain amount of content before applying and being accepted into the Google AdSense Program (I’m leaving out Yahoo’s program because it’s still in beta). Since I already have an AdSense account, I can skip this step. I will give you a couple of fundamental rules that advanced AdSense Publishers already know and use to help increase their WWebsite’s revenue generation.
Make the background of your ad the same color as the page’s. On my fantasy baseball blog, I have placed my ads in the “body” of the blog…the color of which is #F6F6F6. I wish to customize my ads to blend into the blog background. Within the AdSense interface, I click on “Custom Palettes.” I go to the “White” palette and replace the background and border colors with “F6F6F6”. I then save my custom palette for use in my blog.
The second cardinal rule of maximizing AdSense revenue is making your ads seem part of your blog content. Given that I can only place a maximum of three ads on a page, I make the following selections:
I want to put a 728 x 90 Leaderboard Ad directly above my recent post. Ensure I use my custom palette in my blog template; I drop my code just after “div id=mainClm.”
I place a 300 x 250 Medium Rectangle Ad directly above my RSS Feed in my sidebar. I withhold using my third ad for now. I will continue to experiment with different ad placements. Given the ubiquitous nature of contextual advertising, many new publishers forget that they can become members of affiliate programs and make money through sales of affiliate products. For “ease-of-use” purposes, I recommend that newbie publishers join one of the bigger affiliate networks Commission Junction, Linkshare, and Shareasale, the most prominent).
When I choose an affiliate merchant for my blog, I know I need a tight nexus between the merchant and the blog subject matter to make sales. I know that with some of my older, more established websites, I have done well selling anti-aging products with excellent payouts. However, I wouldn’t consider placing those banners on this blog because my audience won’t be interested. The sports merchandise merchant I choose here will be much more likely to make revenue for me even if the payouts are less.
Blog and Ping
Why do this step? To let the various blogging search engines know that I am updating my blog with fresh content. The easiest way to “blog and ping” is to surf over to Pingoat.com. I filled out the requested information, including my site feed URL (found in the Blogger Interface by clicking Settings / Site Feed). I will come back to this site periodically to repeat the process.
Link-building is essential to search engine optimization, so I must build links to my blog to drive more traffic. Many articles have been written about how to make connections. For this exercise, I will follow a beginner’s technique to quickly and easily create relevant links.
I went to Linkmarket.net and registered my Website. I upgrade to full membership. I download and install the Google Toolbar. I now can trade unlimited links with over 40,000 websites. I only want to exchange links with sites relevant to mine. Trading links with pharmaceutical sites will not help me with SEO for a fantasy baseball website or benefit my site visitors. I click through to the Sports Directory of Link Market.
I offer to trade links with each Website in the Fantasy and Baseball Categories (and if I’m feeling aggressive, I’ll change relations with the Basketball, Football, and Hockey websites). Before I exchange links with a site, I visit the site to check its Google Page Rank. It does not matter to me what the Page Rank is as long as it’s not zero.
If the WWebsite accepts my offer to trade, I place their code on my Website Template in the sidebar beneath my links header. I will most certainly get suggestions from other websites offering to exchange links with me, which I’ll accept so long as linking to that Website will be valuable to my blog visitors (and if their websites don’t have a Google Page Rank of zero). You’ll need to earn inbound links to achieve long-term SEO success, not just trade for them.
When you are communicating your passion to the world, it doesn’t feel like work. When you are sharing your love with the world and earning money simultaneously. If you haven’t participated in this most basic area of online commerce before, I invite you to take the plunge. I’ve attempted to spoon-feed you a process that someone with a minimal technical background can easily follow. If you embark on such a journey, it will be rewarding, educational, and fun.