Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Make Money off a Small, Low-Traffic Blog

Making money off a low-traffic blog is a tough, tough ask. Trust me, I’ve been there and done that. Even though it might seem to be a daunting, nay, impossible task at first, I can assure you that it is indeed do-able.

And while there is quite literally tons of information, thousands of blogs on ‘making money online’, most of them assume that your blog is already doing well in terms of traffic and visitors. Run a Google search on the said phrase right now, and you’ll see what I mean. There’s a serious dearth of information for an average blog – one that is a relatively new blog and doesn’t really get a lot of visitors, in all probability being run by someone who is SEO-inexperienced.

Most of the material that you will come across online will recommend affiliate ads, using AdSense and Image Ads, but exactly how useful will these be on a blog that gets less than a hundred unique visitors a day?

Luckily, there are ways where one can earn off his or her low-traffic blog as well. However before we look at some of these ways, it is generally recommended that you work towards getting your traffic up to high levels. Traffic is good, if you ask me, it is the single-most important thing for a successful blog, and as a rule: the more the merrier. Traffic is the foundation on which a successful, money-making blog can be created. In order to get more traffic, try different link building techniques, and aim to rank well on the SERP.

If you’re not really up there yet, here are simple things you can do with your blog to make some money off it:

1. Google AdSense – AdSense is the most common, most widely-known solution for blog-owners and webmasters to make money off their websites. It’s a simple solution, and requires you to do nothing apart from displaying a couple of related ads on your website, link your blog to your bank account and start making money. AdSense can be used by anyone, provided your blog passes the eligibility criteria.  Traffic details are not part of the eligibility criteria, which means even small blogs can benefit from this.

2. PPC and CPM – PPC or Pay-Per-Click advertisement programs involve ads that are place on your blog, and you are paid whenever someone clicks on those ads. Very common, and hands down the most easiest way of monetizing your blog. As traffic increases, so does the money. Similarly, CPM or Cost-Per-Thousand advertising involves you getting paid based on how many times a particular ad shows up on your blog. Another very easy way to earn money online for small blogs, as it only requires page-views.

3. Loyal Base of Subscribers – The one thing that could potentially be significantly more important than traffic, is a loyal base of returning customers. Even if you don’t get a lot of traffic on your blog, advertisers will value the fact that you have a small base of loyal subscribers, who value what you have to say, are loyal to your blog, and follow and subscribe to your ideas. This means that if you endorse or recommend a product or service, your followers too would be inclined to try it out. This could be a good base for you to get some advertisements on your blog.

4. Image-based Third-Party Advertisements – If you are an authority figure in your niche (despite the fact that your blog does not get a lot of visitors), this will still be a valuable proposition to many advertisers out there, who will be interested in advertising on your blog. Because, as was the case in point no. 2, your visitors see you as an authority figure, and it is therefore loyal traffic. You could ask advertisers if they would be interested in putting up small ads on your website, those 125x125 ones which are quite popular nowadays as well.

5. Service Provision – Look around and see if you can offer some kind of a service to someone. Offering a service that someone might require is a sure-shot way of earning some money, however expect to put in a bit of effort while you’re at it. Think you’re good at something? Put it up as a service (remember Joker’s quote from The Dark Knight: ‘If you’re good at something, never do it for free!). Think you can write, write guest posts for other blogs. Good at development, web-designing, link-building or something else? Add a popup box on your website and advertise your service there.

6. Become an Affiliate – Similar to AdSense, affiliate marketing is another straightforward way of earning off your low-traffic blog. Affiliate marketing has the potential to be quite lucrative as well. Basically, you earn money by using your blog to recommend products and services to your readers. Every time someone purchases something off your blog, you are given a share of the sales. A LOT of bloggers are doing this, and affiliate marketing blogs can be found on the internet by the dozens. The best thing about being an affiliate is that you’re simply responsible for marketing a product, you won’t be manufacturing it, or selling it.

7. Reviews of Products and Services – Product and service reviews, a concept akin of service provision and affiliate marketing, will have you write reviews, focusing on products that you’re blogging on. This could be anything – from iPhone app reviews, to reviewing computer hardware, home furniture, etc. Reviews can be particularly profitable if you have some authority on the topic you blog about. In addition, once you build up a considerable amount of reputation and authority, you could even do paid reviews, or reviews for money. Being an authority figure in your field is vital here.

8. Ask for Donations: Don’t expect people to give you hand-outs. While adding a donation box or a ‘Donate’ button to your blog may be a good idea, apart from being the easiest way to rake some dough, expect little to no revenue through this avenue (ask yourself this, how many times have you donated on a blog?). If you’re offering a service for free (for instance writing reviews, offering a plugin, etc.), it makes much more sense to ask for donation and in that case, people might even be inclined to give you their money.


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